IAWHP, which hosted a preconference today at the 14th-annual ACSM Health & Fitness Summit, stressed evidence-based recommendations for worksite health programs. That evidence shows comprehensive, incentive-based programs are best – and they pay off.
“Based on a comprehensive meta-analysis of the available literature, worksite health promotion programs can generate medical cost savings of about $3.27 and absenteeism-related savings of about $2.73 for every dollar invested,” said IAWHP President Nico Pronk.
The preconference featured specific ideas companies can implement when designing health programs for their employees.
Establish leadership support. Who will be the “face” of the worksite health program? Perhaps a CEO or president can start his or her own fitness plan and blog about it for employees.
Find the right facility. Can the current worksite accommodate fitness testing and classes and on-site fitness centers? Or should the employer offer gym memberships or discounts?
Create an environment for opportunity. It’s hard to preach health when employees are sitting, sedentary, at their desks. Encourage walking meetings, develop nutritional menus for meetings and stretch or relaxation breaks for your employees – or hold learning lunches about nutrition to drive home the message.
Screenings and assessment of health risks (along with professional feedback on those risks) are also strongly recommended. During the Austin meeting, IAWHP also held a conference with the local business community to discuss worksite health models. Representatives from global companies such as Dell Computers spoke to attendees.
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national, and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.